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Perspective: Long-Term Market Performance.

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher 474 Comments474 Comments Comments
    December 2, 2011

    About the only certainty in the stock market is that, over the long haul, over performance turns into under performance and vice versa. Is there a pattern to this movement? Let’s apply some simple regression analysis (see footnote below) to the question.

    Below is a chart of the S&P Composite stretching back to 1871 based on the real (inflation-adjusted) monthly average of daily closes. I’ve using a semi-log scale to equalize vertical distances for the same percentage change regardless of the index price range.

    The regression trendline drawn through the data clarifies the secular pattern of variance from the trend — those multi-year periods when the market trades above and below trend. That regression slope, incidentally, represents an annualized growth rate of 1.72%.

     

     

    The peak in 2000 marked an unprecedented 155% overshooting of the trend — nearly double the overshoot in 1929. The index had been above trend for nearly 18 years. It dipped about 9% below trend briefly in March of 2009, but at the beginning of December 2011 it is 31% above trend. In sharp contrast, the major troughs of the past saw declines in excess of 50% below the trend. If the current S&P 500 were sitting squarely on the regression, it would be around the 922 level. If the index should decline over the next few years to a level comparable to previous major bottoms, it would fall to the mid 400s.

     


    Footnote on Calculating Regression: The regressions on the Excel charts above are exponential regressions to match the logarithmic vertical axis. I used the Excel Growth function to draw the lines. The percentages above and below the regression are the calculated as the real average of daily closes for the month in question divided by the Growth function value for that month minus 1. For example, the monthly average of daily closes for December was 1226.41. The Growth function value for the month was 921.64. Thus, 1207.22 divided by 921.92 minus 1 equals 33.3%, which I rounded to 33%.

    Footnote on the S&P Composite: For readers unfamiliar with this index, see this article for some background information.

     

    From Regression to Trend: A Perspective on Long-Term Market Performance.

     

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About The Author

    My original dshort.com website was launched in February 2005 using a domain name based on my real name, Doug Short. I’m a formerly retired first wave boomer with a Ph.D. in English from Duke. Now my website has been acquired byAdvisor Perspectives, where I have been appointed the Vice President of Research.

    My first career was a faculty position at North Carolina State University, where I achieved the rank of Full Professor in 1983. During the early ’80s I got hooked on academic uses of microcomputers for research and instruction. In 1983, I co-directed the Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities. An IBM executive who attended the conference made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Thus began my new career as a Higher Education Consultant for IBM — an ambassador for Information Technology to major universities around the country. After 12 years with Big Blue, I grew tired of the constant travel and left for a series of IT management positions in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I concluded my IT career managing the group responsible for email and research databases at GlaxoSmithKline until my retirement in 2006.

    Contrary to what many visitors assume based on my last name, I’m not a bearish short seller. It’s true that some of my content has been a bit pessimistic in recent years. But I believe this is a result of economic realities and not a personal bias. For the record, my efforts to educate others about bear markets date from November 2007, as this Motley Fool article attests.
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